Okay, I’m not going to lie, I had a really hard time sitting down to write this blog. (Especially after I just poured a lot of my heart out in a recent blog about SWEET DREAMS, ALFIE.) Like many of you, I walked through Wednesday in a bit of a haze. I was unsure how to move beyond my anger, anxiety, fear, and shame. I was unsure how to support my friends, colleagues, and neighbors who don’t have many of the privileges I have. I was unsure how to move forward.
In my cloud of grief, I was reminded of one of my favorite Charles Mee quotes:
Because what we have come to learn
is that the future is made
not by arguing well
but by speaking differently.
And speaking differently:
that's the job of poets.
As artists and storytellers and makers of things, it’s our job to speak differently. To me, this means listening more closely, engaging more authentically, making weird/bold/new art that asks questions, and supporting art that reflects and connects our community.
As you may know, Give to the Max Day is coming up in exactly one week... Thursday, November 17. It’s usually my favorite day of the year—full of generosity, gratitude, and camaraderie. (Seriously, I become an insufferable thanking machine all day long.) And it really is an incredibly important day for a small (yet mighty!) company like Savage Umbrella. But this year feels different. It feels even more important.
It feels even more important to tell stories in which women are central characters full of voice and agency (like THE AWAKENING, VELVET SWING, and THE RAVAGERS). It feels even more important to create work from the queer experience that is complex and full of love (like JUNE and EX-GAYS). It feels even more important to support the work and stories of people of color (like Underdog’s upcoming production of BALTIMORE IS BURNING at Savage Umbrella's SPACE). It feels even more important to support emerging new work makers as they find their own voices and tools for speaking differently (like through Night of New Works). It feels even more important to have difficult and complex conversations with our neighbors, our lovers, our families, our friends. It feels even more important to support new work because art allows us to transcend the barriers of “dinner table conversation” and tackle those important (and often difficult) topics. It allows us to see beyond our own experience and engage with the experiences of others. It opens us up, if we let it.
These are the things we can do under the umbrella to keep moving forward. Of course, these are not the only things each of us can or should do, but it’s a start. So, this Give to the Max Day, I urge you to seek out those artists/companies/organizations that are telling important stories, lifting up unheard voices, and working towards a brighter future every day. Together is better.
I’m going to leave you with a bit more Charles Mee that is resonating with me today:
How it is to be a human being
is something we decide
not because of how it has always been
whether or not it has ever been that way before,
this is who we want to be
and how we want to behave
Just because, in the past, there have been slaveholders
we are not destined to live the same way forever.
The reason people study history
is so that they can see
the way things are
is not the only way they have been
or the only way that they can be.
It is up to us to see what human nature can become.
See you under the umbrella next Thursday. <3